Feb. 7, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery (30) celebrates with defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) after beating the Phoenix Coyotes 6-2 at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Pythagorean Expectation Standings Through A Quarter Of The Season

I’ve written about Pythagorean Expectation before and if you are wondering what it is all about you can find out more HERE. It was developed by legendary Baseball sabermetrician, Bill James, as a way to evaluate expected wins based on run differential. This can be translated to hockey and expected points by using goal differential. The equation to do this is:

Points % = {(goals scored)^2/[(goals scored)^2 +(goals allowed)^2]} x 2.23

Since the NHL instituted the bonus point for overtime and shootout losses. the average points per game is no longer two. The advent of the three point game has increased that average to 2.23. That is why you see 2.23 in the equation and not two.

Points percentage (Pts%) is used as the basis since not all teams have played the same amount of games. This allows us to compare these teams with an even playing field. We want to look at the difference between the actual points percentage and the predicted points percentage using Pythagorean Expectation.  The standings show that teams like Tampa Bay, Ottawa and Washington are not getting the points expected given their goal differential, while Boston, Chicago, Anaheim and New Jersey seem to be more fortunate.

We must remember that we are only 10-12 games into the season for most teams so this is very early to draw any conclusions using Pythagorean Expectation, but it is interesting to see which teams might be getting a little lucky early in the season. I will continue to post these standings at the quarter points so we can see how things change.

***Standings are up to and including games played on February 9, 2013***

Pts% Rank Pts% Pyth Pts% Pyth Pts X Pts% Diff Pyth Rank
9  Tampa Bay 0.600 0.708 15.8 -0.108 2
14  Ottawa 0.583 0.645 17.3 -0.062 6
30  Washington 0.292 0.349 9.3 -0.057 27
26  NY Islanders 0.409 0.428 10.5 -0.019 21
28  Colorado 0.400 0.395 8.8 0.005 25
7  Pittsburgh 0.667 0.655 17.5 0.011 4
21  Phoenix 0.500 0.485 13.0 0.015 15
23  Buffalo 0.458 0.439 11.7 0.020 19
6  San Jose 0.727 0.705 17.3 0.022 3
22  Philadelphia 0.458 0.436 11.7 0.023 20
13  Toronto 0.583 0.546 14.6 0.037 10
17  NY Rangers 0.500 0.460 10.3 0.040 18
12  St. Louis 0.591 0.527 12.9 0.064 11
5  Vancouver 0.727 0.654 16.0 0.073 5
20  Edmonton 0.500 0.426 10.5 0.074 22
29  Columbus 0.364 0.290 7.1 0.074 29
10  Montreal 0.591 0.516 12.7 0.075 13
16  Dallas 0.542 0.463 12.4 0.079 17
24  Calgary 0.444 0.365 7.3 0.080 26
15  Carolina 0.550 0.466 10.4 0.084 16
11  Detroit 0.591 0.500 12.3 0.091 14
19  Minnesota 0.500 0.406 10.0 0.094 23
18  Winnipeg 0.500 0.397 9.7 0.103 24
25  Los Angeles 0.444 0.338 6.8 0.107 28
8  Nashville 0.636 0.521 12.8 0.115 12
27  Florida 0.409 0.281 6.9 0.128 30
3  New Jersey 0.773 0.630 15.4 0.143 7
4  Anaheim 0.773 0.613 15.0 0.160 9
1  Chicago 0.909 0.709 17.4 0.200 1
2  Boston 0.833 0.628 12.6 0.205 8

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Tags: Fancy Stats NHL Pythagorean Expectation Sabermetrics

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